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Tags: working, Large-sized, High energy level, Adaptable to apartment life, Kid-friendly, Protective guardian, Challenging for first-time owners, Requires firm, dedicated training

Way back when in Germany, my Middle Ages ancestors were fighting mastiff breeds like the eastern Molossians. Besides dog fighting, we were pretty good at running down game (wild boar, deer and even European bison) and holding them down until the hunters could catch up. Eventually, in the 1800s, we were refined, if you can call it that, by breeding us with the English Bulldog. Yes, we can box -- standing on hind legs and batting with our front paws at opponents -- or playful owners. The Boxer was recognized by the AKC in 1904 and placed in the Working Group.

Rave review

  • Adaptable to apartment life -- with ample exercise
  • Affectionate, devoted family friend
  • Agile and active
  • Always alert
  • Born to run, happy to walk
  • Busy is better than bored
  • Confident and self-assured
  • Courageous canine
  • Energizer doggie
  • Good-natured clown

Report card

  • High-strung
  • Independent thinker
  • Intelligent and ready to learn
  • Loves kids and vice-versa
  • Dominant
  • Novice owners might be challenged with this breed
  • Outdoors enthusiast
  • Perfect protector
  • Playful pal
  • Pleased to please
  • Ready to romp
  • Socialization and training must start early
  • Spirited
  • Steadfast and strong
  • Stubborn streak
  • Sweet disposition
  • Training can be difficult
  • Training must be firm, patient, consistent

What to expect

I need you to go to the window right now. See the Boxer dragging that poor lady down the street with her leash arm pulled out of the socket and the look of horrified embarrassment on her face? Please don't let that happen with me. You be the boss -- first, foremost, and always. Enroll me in as many Obedience classes as it takes. Okay, let's go for a walk!

Watch for

Generally a healthy, hardy breed but watch for cardiovascular, endocrine (Cushing's disease), and skin disorders. Also possible gastric dilation and torsion (twisted stomach), and tumors.

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